Thursday, June 8, 2017

Some Thoughts On Guild Ball

Hello everyone!

Coming to you today to talk about a game I never thought I'd talk about on this blog: Guild Ball. But why you ask? Simply, I scoffed at Guild Ball quite a bit when I first started hearing rumblings about it (mostly from my friend Kris over at Wargamer Ramblings). A game with guilds playing soccer (football for you international folks)? What is up with that? So there are some mundane careers playing a sport. Why should I care? I also heard a lot of stuff I didn't like when I initially heard about it (though not from Kris, but some other people that I saw around the internet), basically things like "I'm switching to Guild Ball because at least it's fun, unlike Warmachine/Hordes", "I hope Guild Ball takes over, I think it is the better system." You see where I'm going with this. My first exposures (besides Kris, like I said) were not Guild Ball positive, they were Warmachine/Hordes negative. Hard to come around to a game where the vocal community is talking down on the game you hail as your favorite.

However, something changed. I stopped listening to the negative people in the community and started to look a little more at the positive aspects of the game. I started to look more at the models and found I liked more and more of the sculpts. Reading about the different playstyles of the teams, and then looking at my friend Kris' write ups about them, I started to come around to the idea of the game. Watching Battle Reports helped (are they really Battle Reports if it's not battle?).

Looking at everything, I finally decided to buy in, because I figured that it took a different slot in my gaming repertoire than 40k, or Warmachine, or Bolt Action, or... well, you get the point. I don't have a sports game. Sure, Blood Bowl is out again, and I may pick up the starter one day, but I really hate football. Not a sport I've ever liked. Soccer? Now that's a sport I've played and love to watch. So I came around to Guild Ball.
Image result for Guild Ball
But what Guild? That was a question that was both easy and hard to answer at the same time. I always try to mix up my playstyle to an extent. For example, I've played Khador and know exactly how I don't like to play (slow and hard to kill). I love the playstyle of Circle Orboros, with movement tricks and unpredictable attacks. Cygnar is fun, as they offer both ranged and up close answers, and usually hit pretty hard when they do.

So in my decision making process I finally settled on two options: The Butchers, and their brutal damage output and ability to make other players bleed on the pitch. All of this was stacked on to the models with team wide buffs that could be doled out, making everyone more kill-ey. It was brutal and efficient and I liked the idea.

The other major contender for my first team was that of the Union. Stabby, like that of the Butchers, but with a more "We all work alone to win the game". This was tempting to me, along with the fact that if I ever picked up other teams I could use them in those line ups.

So, after a couple of weeks of thinking, I decided to go with the Butchers. Went down to my LGS, money in hand... and they didn't have the Butchers. But they did have the Union! So I went with them. Christmas came around and I ordered most of the rest of the (then) team. I have to say, I like the way they play, and I tend to play the takeout game. However, thanks to some lucky trades on reddit, I was able to get a full Butcher line up. Now the only decision is which one to take when I go play.

So there you have it, how I got into Guild Ball. I found that I really enjoyed the mechanics of the game. It's modern, it's quick, and most importantly, fun.

Next time, I'll be starting a new project to get ready for Gen Con!

Until next time, Happy Hobbying! 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The Post That Will Lose Me Some Readers

Hello Everyone!

Today, I've decided to talk about a project I'm working on that many will find disdainful, abhorrent, atrocious, and blasphemous.

That's right, I'm starting Warhammer: Age of Sigmar.

"But why? That game is the game that took the place of  Warhammer Fantasy, the greatest game of all time!"

I understand your point there, but let me make my case. I've never played a moment of Warhammer Fantasy Battle, though I understand its long history is something that many hold near and dear to their hearts. Had I been conscious of my love of wargaming at a younger age I dare say I would have given it a try. However,  that's not the case. My history with Fantasy was a short-lived and half-hearted one. One time, while I was in Lexington, Kentucky, I went to the local Games Workshop store, and, noticing the fantasy section the shop owner had set up, became quite enamored with the Vampire Counts models I saw there. With my love of old horror, and the classic idea of hordes of skeletons and zombies, driven by powerful necromancers and aristocratic vampires, it wasn't a hard stretch for me to become interested. (Author's Note: Vampires shouldn't sparkle. They certainly shouldn't live in Washington. Though they totally could, I like mine to live in old castles somewhere in Eastern Europe.)

So, I purchased a box of skeletons and a Wight King and left the store, eventually ordering the army book on eBay, and buying another box of skeletons and a Terrorgheist down the line when the opportunities presented themselves. But I never fully committed to a Fantasy army. It was simply something I didn't feel like I wanted to do. The entire idea of the strict rules for building a list, let alone playing with said list, seemed a bit daunting. The monetary aspect, too, was a factor. Fantasy required many more minis than I had the means to buy at the time (and probably still now).

In the end, I let fantasy sit on the shelf, collecting dust, but not really going anywhere. In fact, I almost sold it off a few times. Then the End Times came out. I was impressed with the entire idea of these huge apocalyptic clashes of the different forces, with these huge, gorgeous (or disgusting, in the case of the Glottkin) models coming out. Still, it just didn't feel right. Too much was required. I'd need movement trays. I'd need at least 2-3 more units of skeletons, and that's not all. I still didn't do much with it.

And like that, the End Time were over. The Old World was gone, and the Age of Sigmar had begun. While I didn't play Fantasy, I was kinda upset. Though I hadn't pulled the trigger, I'd never be able to. Square bases were replaced with round, like 40K. I didn't like the game on principle. No points? 4 pages of rules? What is this, happy fun time make believe game? With no restrictions, things will get bonkers! I vowed to never play Age of Sigmar. I'd play 9th Age with my buddy Kris (Whose blog you can read at WargamerRamblings). I'd keep the square base, and vow to keep my precious undead off the evil that was the round base.

How foolish I was. And so here I am, a few months ago, salivating over the Stormcast Eternals. while also giving a strong eye to the Khorne Bloodbound models that have been coming out at this point. I still am hesitant, however. But then I start watching battle reports, and listen to people reviewing the game. I see more and more of the minis. The General's Handbook is released, and suddenly structure has been given to that without restraint. I start reading White Dwarf articles. I get the free Slaughterpriest mini. And like that, I am interested. I buy the Storm of Sigmar set on my way back home from my honeymoon. I get the "Getting Started" magazine with the free Liberator.

I start talking to Kris about getting into the game, and he says he too has been looking at the game. Our mutual friend, Clayton, who was introduced to me via Beyond the Gates of Antares, is a proud player of the Dwarven factions. My buddy Ronnie loves Age of Sigmar. And all the while, the Starter set is gleaming at me from the shelf. (Have I mentioned I love Starter sets? Slap the words Starter Set on anything and I'll probably buy it).

So here I am, entranced with a game I so vehemently opposed when it came out. But why? Firstly, I said that I don't have a long and storied history of playing Fantasy. Secondly, even if I did, nobody I know plays it. Most have moved on to Age of Sigmar or quit entirely. And lastly, I just love the models and the game types I can do. If I want to throw a list together of Destruction, Chaos, and Death for an Open game against a buddy I can. If I want to throw my Tomb Kings in with my Vampire Counts I can, and just call it Death. Wood Elves and Stormcast Eternals? No problem. I have many more options now in most cases, and thusly I can make the game how I want it to.

So, getting started I've decided on a few things. Firstly, I'm constructing an Open play list that is essentially just the forces of evil. Goblins, Skeletons, Chaos, Orcs, etc. If it's evil, it's in the list.

Secondly, and most pertinent to this post, and thus the next few months of my life, I am going to make a 2000 point list for a tournament coming up in Gate City, Va, in February. This is a more strict idea for list building, so it will be the Chaos Grand Alliance, with a veritable smattering of Daemons, Skaven, and Khorne Bloodbound. However, I also need to have this painted by then. Painting is not fully required I don't believe, just encouraged, but I will not show up to an event with unpainted models (at least not this one). So I'm hoping this will give me an excuse to play games as practice and and also paint some minis. I started painting tonight, so we'll see where it goes. Either way, I plan to update y'all as the project goes forward, and I need to set a plan for myself to get as many of them done over the winter break from classes as I can. We'll see how it goes, and see if I make it on February 25th.

Either way, I believe that Age of Sigmar is a good thing, if not everyone, I certainly think it is good for me and how I like to game. The rules are much simpler, and thus make it much easier for me to deal with. I like the simplicity, the simpler the better (in some cases).

I hope I've not gotten rid of too many readers because of this.

Until next time,

Happy Hobbying

P.S. Hobby wise, I've cut up a bunch of styrofoam for generic ruins, covering the, with gesso, and spray priming. Getting good results, and my terrain box is already doubling in size. I have also been working on my Gates of Antares models, trying to complete my entire force by year's end. I should be able to make it (hopefully). I have also started the process of converting my entire Warhammer 40,000 collection into one singular force, through converting my Chaos Marines to Black Legion, with support from my Mechanicus models (now Dark Mechanicum) and a contingent of Traitor Guard, all supported by my Chaos Daemons (which will double as my Age of Sigmar list!). I've still been working on building up my Cygnar collection, and look forward to some games in the near future, playing either Cygnar or Circle. Either way, it's been a busy month not only for hobby, but also for school and life. That's called being a wargamer though.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

A Word About My Hiatus

Hello Everyone,

Sorry to take so long in between posts, especially given that I'm in the middle of a series, but I've been incredibly busy with school. Given it is my last year and I am doing Senior research on top of a full courseload, while working, I have been incredibly busy. As a result, my hobby time, and thusly my blog time, has taken a huge hit. I also got married on the 24th of this month (YAY) so I was very much preoccupied with wedding planning and preparation.

I just wanted to let everyone know that I haven't forgotten about you. You are still important to me. Like the late great Douglas MacArthur said "I Shall Return."

Until next time,

Happy Hobbying

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Hobby ideas: Wants, Desires, and Necessities

Hello Everyone!

I will be continuing my blog series on getting into Warmachine/Hordes, but I wanted to hop in for a quick post about my current hobby projects/interests.

I'm still working on building my Cygnar army, as I'd like to really delve deep into a new faction in Mk3. Kara Sloan was recently purchased, along with a Hunter, and I will be ordering some Trenchers along with other pieces very soon. I also want to start building a Tanith list as I really feel like she would be a fun and versatile caster, and I need to get Reeves and a few other pieces to make the list I want to build work. Wurmwood, a caster I never had much interest in before is a purchase I'll need to make soon, as he seems to be the dominant Circle caster for now at the very least. Priority goes toward painting Tanith and her box, and getting my Trollbloods box done for Press Gang purposes.

2)Bolt Action/Konflikt 47
Having spent the last 2 weeks watching Band of Brothers and The Pacific, I've been smacked in the face with a desire to play and paint some more BA. For the most part I need to get the rest of the paints required for my Starter box, sand the bases, and then prime them up so I can start painting. I'd also like to buy some Airborne troops in the future and get around to buying the starter kit for Konflikt 47.

I had no interest in this game a month ago. Then my buddies went to Gen Con and came back with a few more factions worth of models. We ended up playing a 5 person deathmatch game (which was stolen from me at the last second) and I had a blast. The game is quick and fun, and once you pick a faction you can buy the entire faction for 35 dollars. Pretty good deal if you ask me. I think I'll get Texico (It's Hiiigh Noooon) but I may consider eventually picking up another. For that price, it's quite worth it.

4) Frostgrave
My gaming group and I have been discussing a campaign of this for some time, and the ability to use whatever models you want, paired with the ease of finding cheap Reaper minis, has made me put that on the table as well. Another small skirmish game but fantasy as opposed to scifi, it seems like a fun and interesting game that could be played within a larger story.

As you can see, I have a lot of ideas floating around in my head. If you have any suggestions on  how I can make any of these particular things happen any easier they would be appreciated, as I am just a broke college student with a love of gaming.

Anyway, that was my quick post to update everyone, and the fourth part of Getting Started will be up soon, I've been very busy with classes starting back and helping move my fianceƩ.

Until next time,

Happy Hobbying!

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Getting Started With Warmachine/Hordes pt. 3: Warmachine Factions

Hi Everyone!

Sorry it's been a while, but I've had a hectic few weeks here at home and I've found myself barely having time to even open my computer, let alone write anything. (Moving sucks!) then I had the setback of having had the entire blog typed and losing it all in a saving mishap. But I've finally got it done, and ready for you to read it. 

So, without further ado, the Warmachine factions, broken down by play style to help you pick the right faction for you.

1) Cygnar
Ahh, the Swans. Fighting enemies on all sides, Cygnar is forced into having the best technology possible.  Cygnar is a faction with a lot of options when it comes to the tabletop. Cygnar likes a combined arms approach, being able to hit at range very well and doing pretty good in melee. Cygnar Heavy jacks hit like a freight train, and their light jacks have a lot of options as well. Cygnar's biggest problem is dying, and they tend to make up for that with more defensive buffs. They also like electricity, so many things can do electrical attacks which can bounce to other people!

2) The Protectorate of Menoth
Ahh, the Menites. The crazy religious zealots that follow the Lawgiver Menoth and separated from Cygnar to create a theocracy and wage holy war. The Protectorate is all about denial. In fact, this is why my buddy Kris plays Menoth. For him, there is a great joy in being able to say "Nope, you can't do that." Menoth will shut you down, and they will survive. They have a strong theme of Fire, so many of their casters can put out the Fire continuous effect and keep it going. Menoth jacks tend to deal with many different threats. Units are more elite, and support units are the bread and butter of the Protectorate. 

3) Khador 
The Khadoran Empire is the most imperialist of the factions vying for power in the Iron Kingdoms, often invading the land of others in hopes of rebuilding their once great empire. As far as looks go, they are Russians with steam-powered robots. Khador is a hard country to live in, and this is really reflected in the army. From troops to jacks, Khador is incredibly tough when it comes to standing up to damage. Khador jacks have all around the highest base armor of all the factions, and more hit boxes than most other heavy jacks. Khadoran troops are even hard to hurt, often times having higher armor values than most infantry, and they have mass conscription in Khador, so expect to see a lot of high armor troops.  Khador is all about surviving longer than the opponent, as they can take a lot of heat and keep standing. Even Khadoran Warcasters are made of tough stuff and can take (and give) a beating. Khador will take you to task in melee, but will falter at range, and take a while to get across the table.

4) Cryx
The nightmare kingdom of Cryx is an empire made up of islands populated by the undead and the living that aren’t accepted by anyone else. Cryx is a debuff machine, and their casters are spell heavy. They will be throwing spells onto the enemy in hopes of weakening their opponent, either by dropping one, or multiple stats. Cryx has infantry units that aren’t very elite, typically making up for that with more models.  To keep itself casting all the spells it wants to cast, Cryx will usually collect soul tokens which turn into extra focus, meaning you often have a lot more resources than your opponent.  Ghosts and other undead models abound so Cryx has a lot of ways to get Ghostly and Incorporeal special effects (which change where they can move and how and what can hit them, respectively).  Cryx jacks aren’t the heftiest either. 
5) The Retribution of Scyrah 
The nation of Ios is made up of elves, whose gods are slowly dying. The Iosans believe that human use of magic is to blame, and thusly they have decided to wage war in hopes of saving their gods. Retribution has a strong theme of battlefield manipulation so they will spend a lot of time rearranging the battlefield how they like it. Also, Retribution is no slack when it comes to ranged attacks, oftentimes hitting consistently at range. Retribution units are pretty elite though in whatever they are made for so they can easily handle threats in any mode. Retribution heavies are also good at what they do, but each jack is unique in the threats it presents. 

5) The Convergence of Cyriss
A cult that worships the clockwork god Cyriss, who is dedicated to mathematics and order, the Convergence of Cyriss operates very much in that theme. More than any other army, Convergence is all about synergy and the order of operations. Efficiency is the name of the game, and this is reflected on the tabletop, as Convergence jacks can induct focus from others near them, meaning a few focus can power all of your jacks for the turn! This also plays into their order of operations playstyle, as activating the wrong jack at the wrong time could leave you high and dry when you need it. Convergence units and solos all provide support and answers to threats, but each are highly specialized, so they may not work in all situations. Warcaster choice is also important, as Convergence jacks copy the melee and ranged attack values of their controller! A hard army to pick up, but rewarding if you can learn it’s unique style. 

6) Mercenaries 
The Iron Kingdoms are constantly at war, and thusly some make a career out of being soldiers for hire. In most cases, people will field mercenaries in their other factions to fill out roles that their faction may not normally have access too. However, you can also field just an army of Mercenaries. Mercenaries tend to fall into 2 categories, with those being the human mercs and the Rhulic mercs. Rhulic mercs are dwarves, and must use a different set of warjacks than the human mercs. The Mercenary faction is by far the most diverse, having a plethora of options and models that one can use. Rhulic models have a mining theme, whereas a lot of the humans have a nautical, pirate theme. This faction has many options to choose from, so it’s hard to narrow it down to one playstyle. 

So there you have it, a quick idea of each of the factions in Warmachine that you can choose from. If you have any questions, comments, or would like to tell me how wrong I am about your faction, comment below! 

Thanks again, and next time we will move on to the factions of Hordes! 

Until then, 

Happy Hobbying! 

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Getting Started with Warmachine/Hordes pt 2: Game Overview

Hi everyone!

Today I'm going to give you an overview of Warmachine and Hordes, and how the two are alike and how they are different. So buckle up!

First, we'll go with Warmachine as it was the first system to be introduced. Warmachine was released all the way back in 2003, but has went through 2 previous iterations, with the newest and current edition, MK3, being released on June 29th of this year.

But what sets Warmachine apart from those other miniatures games?

That's a great question, and one I love to answer.

Essentially, the entire idea behind Warmachine is that you control an army and take the role of the Warcaster. A Warcaster is a highly trained soldier-sorcerer who uses spells and magic weapons to defeat their enemies and lead their army to victory. Did I mention that they also use their minds to control giant steam powered war machines (hah!) called Warjacks? Because they do. And it's awesome.

So essentially, a Warcaster is the model that you pick to lead your army and your 'jacks. Caster selection is important. Each caster has their own unique style of play. You can have the same army every game and just change out the Warcaster and see a huge amount of variety.

Warcasters rely on a thing called Focus to do their thing, however, and find it hard to get the most of their jacks and armies if they don't have it. Focus is arcane energy that helps the caster cast spells and make their jacks go. For example, if I'm playing a Khador army with Kommander Sorscha, I have 6 Focus to work with every turn. I can use this focus to cast spells, like Wind Rush and others, or I can allocate it to my jacks (who now, thanks to Mk3, get a free focus as long as they are close enough to her) to run or charge or buy more attacks. Casters can also buy attacks with these points, but you only have a limited number every turn, so you have to think ahead on how to spend them. It's all about resource allocation.

However, while your Caster is the most powerful piece of your army, it is also what can bring it down. You see, an important part of Warmachine is that of the assassination. The easiest way to explain this is through an example like Chess. If the king is taken, you lose. Same thing goes in Warmachine. You can be winning 4-0 on control points in a scenario, but you can lose because you stepped out from behind the wrong wall and got a charging Jack to the face.

Beyond 'jacks, armies are made up of units of troops, mounted and unmounted, and solos, which are single models that are more powerful than a single unit model but less powerful than a warcaster. Each of these selections in a list is important, as it determines how your game plays, and how well it goes.

Here's some examples of the Warmachine Aesthetic:   

So there you have it: Warmachine is all about combat between 2 armies controlled by warcasters and made up of warjacks, units, and individual models called solos, all on a 4x4 tabletop.

Now to Hordes!

Hordes, in many ways, is very similar to Warmachine. Units and solos make up the rank and file of the armies, but the game is really focused on Warlocks and their Warbeasts.

Warlocks are magic users who, similarly to Warcasters, are the keystones of their armies whose death means defeat. However, instead of using their Focus to control mechanikal contstructs, the Warlocks use their bond with their Warbeasts to power their magic.

Warbeasts are angry, furious creatures that tower over regular people, and can tear a warjack to pieces in seconds if given the chance. Warlocks tap into that Primal rage, called Fury, to cast spells and protect themselves.

Whereas Warcasters must give Focus to their jacks, Warlocks must leach Fury from their Warbeasts to maintain the amount needed to cast their spells. They can also use this Fury to transfer damage to their warbeasts, and boost their attacks and damage rolls. Fury, once it comes off a Warbeast, is quite similar to Focus in how it operates. Every Warbeast produces Fury, and they do this through forcing. However, if they produce too much, they can frenzy and you will lose control of that beast for the turn. Whereas Warmachine is a game of resource allocation, Hordes is a game of Risk management. Run too cool and you don't have enough. Run too hot and you may get charged and attacked by your own beast. The choice is yours.

Hordes is the natural answer to the industrial theme of Warmachine. Warmachine is a steampunk world of machinery mixed with magic. Huge cities and trains. Hordes is about the wild parts of the World, with nature magic and beasts aplenty.

Here's a good cross section of the Hordes aesthetic:

I hope that the two little descriptions above help explain the basic ideas behind the game, though this was never intended to be a rules demo. I simply meant to get the basic flavors of each game across, and I hope that you've seen that. For my next post, I will be doing a short  Faction overview for each faction in Warmachine (the post after that will be Hordes) in order to help you pick which faction is best for you.

Until next time,

Happy Hobbying!

All Photos are property of Privateer Press and were taken off of their website. Visit them at for more. 

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Getting Started with Warmachine/Hordes Part 1: Story Time

Hi Everyone!

 Today, we are going to talk about a subject that is very near and dear to my heart.  If you are reading this, it either means that you follow my blog regularly, or you've come to find yourself interested in Warmachine or Hordes.  There are a few ways people get into the community, but I'll add in a personal anecdote for this one. Back in the fall of 2013, I became interested in tabletop wargaming, and started by getting into Warhammer 40,000 with Chaos Space Marines. My local store, Cavalier Comics, had a large selection of 40k models and books, and I found myself perusing them almost daily to find my next purchase.  However, tucked away right beside the 40k models was a colorful assortment of boxes. Looking at the boxes I saw what looked like Russian robots, marshmallow giants, werewolves, and demonic looking chicken things.  At first, the look of everything kind of threw me off. I was pretty used to the grimdark look of 40k, so at first I was taken aback at the look of the models. I looked at it, thought it was not my type of game based on looks alone, and kept on. So, for the next year, I kept buying, building, and promising myself I'd paint 40k models. However, in the January of 2015, I saw a poster advertising for a Warmachine/Hordes League at my LGS. I was interested. At this point, I'd only ever played one game of 40k, and a loose one at that where I kind of learned the rules. Talking to Mychaela (my fianceĆ©, in case you are new) we decided that we would check it out. She liked some of the models, and they had grown on me, so we thought we would at least show up, watch a few games, and then see if we wanted to join.  So, the day of the league came. We both had ideas of starter boxes in our heads in case we wanted to join. I'd get the Khador one if it was cool and Mychaela would get the Convergence one. We walk in, and there's a good sized group there. Including a girl! (Mychaela thought she'd be the only one there.) Almost immediately, we were approached by two guys who introduced themselves as Mike and Kris. They chatted us up for a minute and offered to teach us how to play the game. Mychaela and I were unsure as to whether or not we should, but they convinced us. They let us borrow some models and taught us the game as we played. Kris helped Mychaela and Mike helped me. I played Khador and Mychaela proxied Kris' Menoth as Cyriss. The game ended up with Sorscha assassinating Syntherion, but it was just a game between Kris and Mike with us moving the pieces around.   The first, fateful game.

I'm not sure what happened, but I was hooked. In fact, we both were. I bought my battle box that day. We joined the league, and we were the new additions that year. Since then, I've grown my Khador army quite a bit (thanks to an online trade), started a Circle Orboros army (my faction, hands down) and I’m starting a Cygnar army today (shortly after this is punlished I’ll be buying the MK3 battle boxes. I’ve led a Journeyman League, and I’m doing another in the fall. I’ve also become a Press Ganger for Privateer Press, and I’m working to grow the community in my area even farther. Now you know my story, so it’s time to get you started with yours. 

Next time I’m going to give you an overview of the game and the basic ideas behind the system. 

Until then, Happy Hobbying!